A #NODAPL Thanksgiving Day 2016 Open Letter to President Barack Obama

Mr. President

I’m writing to you on this sad day of Thanksgiving in response to despicably-racist, un-American conduct happening in these United Sates. The perpetrators of this racist conduct are Governor Jack Dalrymple of North Dakota, Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier and the Morton County Sheriff’s Department, the United States representatives for the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, North Dakota’s National Guard, your administration and you personally, as well, sir. This for what is intentionally being allowed to happen at this moment with the greatest of malice towards the Standing Rock Sioux peoples’ Sacred Water Protectors in North Dakota.

Your weak, spineless indecision to “let things play out” makes a mockery of the honorable #NODAPL Protest being urgently carried out on behalf of all of us in the world who are deeply-concerned about so many critically-important things that need to be squarely addressed. Those things include: the need to take seriously the human-caused effects of climate change; the need to rapidly convert from fossil-fuels to renewable energies; the need to listen and respond to the spiritual message of survival that Native Americans, and indigenous peoples from around the world, have to give to the corporate, globalized world and the same fascist, police state reality that is once again on the rise in the world as it was following the election in the 1930’s of Adolph Hitler.

The protestors are our collective conscience speaking truth to power. The message of #NODAPL is as important to the human race today as was any political-spiritual movement ever, led by the likes of Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela or Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Now the enemies aren’t yesteryear’s white supremacists of Britain, South Africa or the old South of the United States but new ones who are everywhere raising their ugly heads from out of the darkest of human shadows. Instead, what is now happening is making an utter mockery of the principles, ideals, visions, hopefulness and goodness that America and the Office of the Presidency is supposed to represent.

There is no need to belabor the many outstanding grievous violations at hand regarding the: long-standing abrogation of the Standing Rock Sioux’s treaty rights; violations of their human and civil rights under the U.S. Constitution & Bill of Rights; a multitude of violations under the United Nation’s Charter of Rights; not to mention the shameful effrontery against simply common human decency.

Mr. President, you are now, as they say, a lame duck president who at this point in the twilight of your presidency is especially concerned about salvaging for posterity what little positive legacy may in fact be left to salvage from some of the very darkest of moments that already have passed into the history books during your term in office.

But the last straw in any hope of salvaging that legacy is the way in which you have now chosen to turn a blind eye towards the young Sioux Water Protectors and their allies who, for months, have been mercilessly assaulted by military water cannons, sound cannons, flash grenades, Tasers, Mace, Pepper Spray and all manner of other military weaponry and insult to their humanity while you, sir, simply continue to sit passively behind your Oval Office desk “waiting to see how things play out!”

Are you now, sir, so cynical as to be willing to take orders from those Wall Street energy sector CEO’s, like Kelcey Warren of Energy Transfer Partners, who are prepared to take whatever outrageous murderous steps are necessary to get their oil pipelines built at all costs to human life and that of our Mother Earth?

History will be the ultimate judge of your actions and how you decide to respond to this crisis. In my humble opinion, it will prove to be one of the greatest, if not the greatest, moral and ethical crisis of your entire term in office as it was some 150 years ago for President Abraham Lincoln when he, too, failed the test in his moment of truth to do the right and honorable thing on behalf of the Sioux people.

President Lincoln failed to honorably respond to the Sioux Uprising in Minnesota in 1862. Instead, not only did Lincoln approve the forced deportation/transportation of thousands of innocent Sioux men, women and children to hostile prison camps throughout the West, but Lincoln also condemned to death 38 innocent Dakota warriors out of the 303 who were convicted to death by a military commission that was no better than a kangaroo court. Back then, Lincoln also caved to the blood-lusting desires of avaricious European settlers and corporate forces that coveted the sacred lands of the Sioux Nation for their own nefarious ends. Lincoln’s decision to simply allow 38 innocent Sioux warriors to be chosen at random to needlessly die still stands out as one of America’s greatest days of infamy and still holds the embarrassing distinction of being America’s greatest mass execution in history.

But now there exists the very real dire possibility that you and your Presidency will eclipse even Abraham Lincoln’s long ago day of infamy if you allow a continuation of the manifest injustices that are being perpetrated against the Sioux Water Protectors.

Already hundreds have been seriously injured by Water Cannons indiscriminately pummeling them in the sub-freezing-wintry conditions on the plains and prairies of North Dakota. If allowed to persist many more than 38 innocent Dakota warriors will no doubt die in the end. When this happens, as it most assuredly will if allowed to continue to deteriorate the way things are going, anti-American scholars, Native Americans, environmental activists and decent people from around the world will surely have a field day bemoaning your memory and that of your Presidency.

In another, earlier, rough-and-tumble historical period of time, as in Abraham Lincoln’s day, some ordinary citizen like myself might simply have walked up to the White House, called out the president of the day to go “behind the barn,” as it were, and settle things there. Oh, but if only things were that simple once again!

Mr. President, in all that is decency, put an end to the monstrosities going on. Declare a stop to the Dakota Access Pipeline project. Make this day truly a day of Thanksgiving for our Native American brethren and the rest of us who still hope for a bright future of the world.

Respectfully yours,

Jerome Irwin

Jerome Irwin
Jerome Irwin is a Canadian author, who wrote The Wild Gentle Ones: A Turtle Island Odyssey. He once lived with the Crow Creek Sioux along the old Fort Thompson stretch of the Missouri River.